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Between the ages of 10 and 14, I spent a lot of time walking, hiking or running on desert trails, running up a steep hill behind our house time and time again, literally for hours. A friend helped me build a “BMX” bicycle from scratch – junkyard parts. On this bike I rode hours at a time in the desert and on the road. So I was in shape and I was an athlete of sorts, but I was not in organized sports until I decided to join my high school swim team in an attempt to distance myself from behavior which, for reasons that should be part of another story, I am not proud of.
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I wrote this a couple of years ago, but feel it’s a good time to revisit the topic.
Fear - I acknowledge its presence, but it will not consume me. It will not paralyze me. I will face my fears and rise above.
I used to say this - or something like it - before almost every race that I ever took part in. It helped.
We face fears every day as children, as parents, and as athletes. We face fears for our children, family, friends, and even strangers – because we’re courageous.
Fear of water, darkness, falling, crashing, illness, failure, success, tragedy, death – courage overcomes.
We all practice courage more often than we realize. Realizing we possess courage can make us more courageous. And that’s a good thing, because there can never be too much courage in this world.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear— not absence of fear. Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” – Mark Twain
Socks are one of life’s essentials. They should be, anyway.
The right sock can minimize any number of foot issues including, but not limited to: hammer toes, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, toe jam, bunions, corns, smelly feet, ugly feet, flat feet, duck feet, and smelly shoes. I submit my nearly pristine 50 year old foot that doesn’t look a day over 20 (see picture at left), as an example of what can happen when you purchase and wear decent socks.
Finding the right sock, however, is not as easy as one would think. Some sock makers put more love into their socks than others, and to further complicate matters – not every foot is the same.
And then there’s the price issue. $8 seems to be the norm for “quality” running/cycling socks. I consider $8 my upper threshold for a sock purchase. I borrowed a pair of $25 dollar socks (seriously) from a friend, and returned them two days later, with a hole in the toe, and a 10 dollar bill (and subsequently, 15 dollars more). In my experience, $25 dollar socks are no better than $8 socks, and $8 is a lot to spend on a pair of socks.
Similarly, a $1 sock is not nearly as good as an $8 sock. They don’t last more than a couple months, and they retain foot smell, which eventually stinks up your shoes. This said, there are decent options for less than $8, but as I mentioned earlier, they’re tough to find.
Lucky for you, I’ve spent the last 32 years searching the world for a worthy sock - one that’s both durable and reasonably priced. Along the way I’ve come across a few decent socks (obvious – based on my beautiful foot photo), but until recently, nothing that I’ve been willing to commit to.
Earlier this year, after hearing about my long and somewhat fruitless search for the perfect sock, Andrew Block, of Beaker Concepts, suggested I give his stockings a ride. Considering the depth of my search, I was understandably skeptical about his confident claims regarding the awesomeness of his socks. I’m happy to say, however, that Andrew’s confidence was justified.
Since April, I’ve been running these bad-boys through my rigorous quality control tests. Trust me, no sock wants any part of this process. Here’s a brief description of my protocol (Warning: graphic descriptions): First, I refrain from clipping my toenails for at least two months. Then I wear the same pair of socks all day and all night for one week straight. I don’t remove the socks for any reason (as an aside: it’s virtually impossible to wash your feet while wearing socks).
To make a long and gruesome story short – Andrew’s socks are the first ones to ever last longer than five days before my Raptor-like toenails burst through the front of the socks, or the stench became unbearable (whichever happened first).
Andrew’s socks received high marks in all areas including: toe-hole resiliency, stenchlessness (above and beyond normal foot funk), blister proofness, and comfortability.
Finally - a sock that has a good combination of durability and affordability. I’m so impressed with these socks that I bought quite a few pairs and literally put my name on them. To help you and your feet start the New Year off on the right foot (no pun intended), I’m offering a limited number of socks for $5.50 per pair (plus $2 for shipping), or three pair for $13.75 (plus $2 for shipping).
They come in two colors: grey or black, and two sizes: small/medium which will fit women, children, and men with small feet (just say they’re for your wife or kids), and large/extra-large which fit men with feet larger than size 10, and Sasquatch-like women (just say they’re for your husband).
If you’re interested, email me with color preference (you can mix and match), sizes, quantity and mailing address, and I’ll shoot you payment information and an invoice.
The “store” will close on Monday, December 21st, or when I’m out of socks - whichever happens first. Grab a pair while they last.
Your feet will thank you!
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I loved you when I was a child, but I loved myself more. That’s how kids are.
I did not understand what it took to raise multiple children while working and being a wife. I just wanted my motherly needs met.
I did not understand what it must have been like to be a mom and a wife whose husband served his country during wartime. To give birth to a child while your husband was not near, and in harm’s way.
There were a lot of things that I didn’t understand.
I’m not a child anymore, however. And while I will never completely understand what it’s like to be a Mom, the maturity and perspective that comes with age, twenty years of marriage, and parenthood has deepened my always present appreciation for you.
With the exception of one day each May, you mothered thanklessly. Flowers, and breakfast in bed, are nice, but they are not nearly enough. 365 Mother’s Days would not be enough. Let’s face it, there is nothing that can compensate you for being Mom. I know that, now, and I realize that you’ve known it and accepted it for as long as you’ve been a Mom.
I wish it didn’t take me 51 years to say the words below, but better late than never:
Thank you for putting your children first in your life – ahead of you, of work, of everything.
Thank you for disciplining me.
Thank you for your wisdom.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you for driving me to swim practice at 5:15am and for picking me up at 7am – on your work days.
Thank you for my brother and sisters.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for guiding me, yet letting me find my way.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.